[Taxacom] "molecular" natural selection

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sat Feb 14 09:22:21 CST 2009

Dear All,
      I guess what is bothering me about discussions of various types of
molecular drive (like biased gene conversion) and genetic drift is the
tendency to refer to them as separate from "natural selection".  Sure,
they are different from the phenotypic natural selection discussed by
Darwin (he had no molecular data that needed explaining).  However, I
think Darwin today would see "molecular natural selection" as just part
of an expanded view of natural selection (with the phenotypic and
genotypic processes not always acting in concert).                 
      You might argue that this is semantic quibbling, but it goes
beyond how I think Darwin might have viewed it.  One should also
consider how such sematics can be used against evolution in general, by
those who still ridicule Darwin as having come up with a "fairytale for
grownups".  This is perhaps an even better reason to define natural
selection more broadly (as I think Darwin would probably do today) to
include genotypic processes, not just the phenotypic ones.   
          ---------Ken Kinman

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